Washington, DC. Nov 1, 2018. The Justice Department unveiled a broad new initiative to combat what it says is mounting criminal economic activity by China, announcing the plan as U.S. officials unsealed charges against several individuals and Chinese and Taiwanese companies for trade-secret theft.
The Justice department announced charges against economic espionage on behalf of the Chinese government in the fields of semiconductors (theft from Micron Technology), commercial jet aircraft engines (GE Aviation),
The Justice Department announced Thursday new charges against a Chinese state-owned company, a Taiwanese company and three Taiwanese nationals for engaging in economic espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The entities and individuals charged are accused of stealing trade secrets from Micron Technology, an U.S.-based semiconductor company.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the charges at a press conference, describing Chinese economic espionage as a grave threat to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness.
“The problem has been growing rapidly, and along with China’s other unfair trade practices, it poses a real and illegal threat to our nation’s economic prosperity and competitiveness,” Sessions said in remarks at the Justice Department.
Sessions also unveiled a new initiative to investigate trade theft cases by China. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers will lead the initiative, with assistance from senior Justice Department and FBI officials as well as five U.S. attorneys.
The indictment charges Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company, a Chinese state-owned semiconductor firm, Taiwanese company United Microelectronics Corporation, and Taiwanese nationals Chen Zhengkun, He Jianting, and Wang Yungming with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and other federal crimes.
The government has also filed a civil suit seeking an injunction preventing the Chinese and Taiwanese companies from transferring the stolen trade secrets or exporting products based on them to the U.S.
In a related development earlier this week, the Commerce Department restricted exports to Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company, citing a “significant risk” to U.S. national security interests.
“Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing and it has been increasing rapidly. We are here to say enough is enough,” Sessions said. “It is time for China to join the community of lawful nations.”
In a striking development last month, U.S. officials announced that a Chinese intelligence officer accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets from major U.S. aviation and aerospace firms had been extradited to the United States to face charges. Yanjun Xu, the defendant, is accused of targeting GE Aviation and other companies in the U.S. and abroad since at least December 2013. Xu pleaded not guilty to the charges in October and is facing trial in federal court in Ohio.
The Justice Department unveiled a broad new initiative to combat what it says is mounting criminal economic activity by China, announcing the plan as U.S. officials unsealed charges against several individuals and Chinese and Taiwanese companies for trade-secret theft.